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Japanese court recognizes ‘right to be forgotten’ in suit against Google

Kyodo

A court in Saitama has recognized the “right to be forgotten” — the first ruling of its kind in Japan — in a case filed by a man demanding Google Inc. remove three-year-old news reports of his arrest in connection to child prostitution and pornography, according to newly discovered court documents.

This is the first time that a Japanese court has issued a decision referring to the right to be forgotten in ordering the removal of personal information from the Internet, legal experts said. Past decisions in demanding removal of search results cited the right to privacy.

The right to be forgotten has drawn attention since a 2014 European Court of Justice ruling in favor of a Spanish man who had demanded Google delete search results concerning the past seizure of property.

The latest court decision in Japan, which was issued on Dec. 22, could intensify debate within the nation about where to strike a balance between the right to be forgotten, and the public’s right to know and freedom of expression.

Presiding Judge Hisaki Kobayashi with the Saitama District Court ruled that, depending on the nature of a crime, the right to be forgotten should be recognized with the passage of time.

“Criminals who were exposed to the public due to media reports of their arrest are entitled to the benefit of having their private life respected and their rehabilitation unhindered,” Kobayashi said.

“In modern society,” the judge went onto say, “it is extremely difficult to live a calm life once information is posted and shared on the Internet, which should be considered when determining whether (the information) should be deleted.”

The actual case involves a man convicted of violating the child prostitution and pornography law and fined ¥500,000. He claimed his personal rights were infringed upon as news reports from more than three years ago appear whenever his name and address are entered into the Google search engine.

Last June, the Saitama District Court ordered Google to remove Internet search results that include media reports about the arrest of that man, saying his right to rehabilitation was being infringed. Google objected to that court order.

The provisional ruling was issued by the same court after reexamining the case.

Google has already appealed its decision reaffirming the order to remove the old news stories to the Tokyo High Court.

According to those involved in the case, arrest records of the man no longer appear in Google search results.

  • GBR48

    I wonder how many convicted kiddy fiddlers and their cohorts will be making full use of this ‘privacy protection’? How else would they get that great new job as a teacher or nursery worker? Maybe teaching your kids or taking care of your toddler.

    • Revelation

      The fact that there’s one at the very least is one too many. What has our world come to when we would even consider “forgetting” someone who certainly should not be? Does the law not care for future victims? It could be the children of the very ones involved in the ruling, or if not that, their childrens’ children. Idiots.

    • Arturo William Carralero

      And how many were on that judicial panel….

  • Robert Matsuda

    It is reasonable that names of offenders are deleted from the net news if their prison terms have finished. They should be given chances to rehabilitate themselves. But if crimes are serious or second offences are expected, it is necessary for society to leave the names of offenders on the net. We should examine cases one by one.

  • http://www.oncefallen.com/ oncefallendotcom

    Too bad the idiots in ‘Murika will whine about it. We really need to abolished the American registry.

  • catking2003

    In US such persons will be registered as sex offenders and depending on severity of the offense (such as offenses involving children as this Japanese man in the news) can be registered for life. Their information would be made available to the public and their neighbors would be warned about their presence in order for them to protect their children.

    So basically what I want to say is, WTF Japan?

  • catking2003

    In US such persons will be registered as sex offenders and depending on severity of the offense (such as offenses involving children as this Japanese man in the news) can be registered for life. Their information would be made available to the public and their neighbors would be warned about their presence in order for them to protect their children.

    So basically what I want to say is, WTF Japan?